Political forum to debate ICT

ACS to set agenda

The Australian Computer Society (ACS) will host a political forum featuring speakers from both sides of NSW politics to debate the future of ICT.

Panelists include John Della Bosca, Minister for Commerce, Finance and Industrial Relations, Gregory Pearce, Shadow Minister for Infrastructure, Housing and Commerce and Professor Roy Green, Dean of the Macquarie School of Management (MGSM).

The forum will be held at Customs House, Sydney, on 5pm Wednesday February 21 with the aim of discussing how to drive growth across the NSW and Australian IT sector.

One sample question, provided by the ACS, asks "if elected to government, will your party re-establish a dedicated ICT ministerial portfolio to oversee all aspects of ICT policy and implement proposed measures to expand and support the ICT sector?"

Anthony Wong, ACS NSW chairman said policies are needed that encourage local investment in ICT research and development, provide infrastructure to support changing business paradigms, and ensure that we have the right capacity and mix of skills to meet current and future business needs.

"Australia cannot continue to rely on primary industry alone to deliver our desired standard of living," Wong said.

"ICT is drought-proof and has greater potential to deliver economic and social benefits for NSW and how we achieve this goal in NSW, and why it is so important, will be the subject of this forum."

Philip Argy, ACS president, said the forum will bring the state government's attention to the issues that are stemming the growth in the industry for ICT professionals and SME's, and how this is affecting the economic prosperity of NSW.

"It is important for the broader community to understand that technology contributes more than agriculture, forestry and fishing, education or defence to our economy and is becoming more pervasive in all aspects of our modern lifestyle," Argy said.

"As such, we require NSW and all state governments to develop policies and initiatives that reflect the sector's potential and we see this panel discussion as a platform for both parties to detail their proposed plans."

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